Buttery Sourdough Cornbread

I had already pulled out the discard from my sourdough when I realized what I was really craving was cornbread. Back to the drawing board to figure out to combine my two loves.

My go-to cornbread recipe is my mom’s (it can be found here). With the addition of a cup of sourdough starter, I first jumped to the next size up skillet – 10 inches of cast iron.

I usually like to use buttermilk in my cornbread but, with the tang from the starter, I decided to use whole milk instead. The batter was super tight so I upped the butter to ½ cup and added 2 eggs instead of my usual one. That seemed to do the trick of loosening things up.

The cornbread turned out really well – it isn’t quite as fluffy as Mama’s but it is pretty light for having a cup of sourdough starter and it is very tasty.

Sourdough Cornbread

1 cup sourdough starter discard
1 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, whisked together
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

Mix the sourdough starter, milk, cornmeal and flour together in a mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and set the mixture aside at room temperature while you preheat the oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a 10 inch cast iron skillet inside and the stick of butter in the skillet. When the butter is melted remove from the oven and swirl the skillet to get the butter to cover the bottom and a bit of the sides. Carefully, pour over the dough. Stir to combine.

Add the eggs, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture and stir well. Pour the batter into the heated and buttered pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden-brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving hot, slathered with additional butter.

Leftover Brisket Beef Stroganoff

As a kid, I took a lot of comfort in the ground beef, can of cream of mushroom soup beef stroganoff that mom would make a few times a year. As good as that was, I’m going to kick it up a notch with some of the leftover beef brisket I smoked on the grill.

I use a Dalmatian rub on my brisket (equal parts salt and pepper) so I didn’t need to add either to the finished dish. Here is my method for preparing the brisket.

If you don’t have any leftover brisket, use ground beef or any stir fry type meat like flank steak or sirloin, sliced thin and pan fried in the skillet you’ll then use to sauté the mushrooms.

If you’re using egg noodles, cook them in the sauce as the added cook time deepens the flavors. However, as I’m trying to make do with what I have in the house, I’m using rice. 

The sauce is luscious and so very tasty. The brisket and stock give a big, beefy flavor to my new, favorite comfort food. We were all members of the clean plate club.

Leftover Brisket Beef Stroganoff

1 lb leftover beef brisket, cooked and roughly chopped (or a 1 lb browned ground beef)
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef or mushroom stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces egg noodles or 2 cups cooked rice
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter in a large cast iron skillet. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt remaining butter and then sprinkle on the flour and whisk together. Cook the roux for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low to just cook away the floor taste, not to add color. Slowly whisk in the stock. Keep stirring to remove any lumps. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add in mushrooms and noodles and cook until noodles are cooked, about ten minutes. Add in beef and stir to coat. Stir in sour cream and cook about 10 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. Spoon onto plates (if using rice, use it as a base layer) and sprinkle with a little paprika, if desired.

Cherry Pie for Pi Day

I decided to make a cherry pie this year for 3.14.

I’m being super lazy this year and using a Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust – buying a 2 crust box for the top and bottom and using a can of Duncan Hines Comestock Original Country Cherry Pie Filling.

I’m spending any creativity on the top crust. I decided to go with a mock lattice,  grate pattern. Instead of weaving strips, I sliced slits in the top dough and stretched it to open it up.

Here is what I did:

Adjust oven rack to lower-third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bottom pie crust in bottom of 9-inch pie plate and flute the edges.

Unroll remaining dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting on right side, 2 inches from edge with a ruler held vertically, cut 2-inch slits with a paring knife into dough, spaced about 1 inch apart. Move ruler 1 inch to the left and continue making 2-inch slits, starting parallel to center of first set, so spaces alternate. Continue working across rest of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Gently stretch dough horizontally to reveal grate pattern (if dough is too soft or breaking, refrigerate until pliable, about 10 minutes).

Pour cherry pie filling into bottom crust. Dot top with 2 tablespoons of butter pieces. Place top dough on pie, stretching slightly to open up the pattern. Crimp to seal the top dough to the bottom dough. If there is any leftover dough, cut into a Pi shape. Beat 1 egg with a teaspoon of water and brush over top dough. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.

Place pie on baking sheet and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and crust is golden brown. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Debris Po’boy

Michelle’s local grocery store, Ramey’s, had a sale on beef chuck roasts. As I was passing through on my way back to New Orleans, we stopped in and each got one. She is going to do a classic slow-cooker pot roast but I decided to go a little different and do a combination of grilling and braising on the grill to make debris po’boys.

I can tell you the cats in my neighborhood sure came out for the delicious smells coming from the grill. The little black cat scooted when the camera came out but the noisy one stayed until I finally pulled the meat off after nearly 3 hours.

Before serving, to be super authentic, I had to dash over to a local grocery store (Zuppardo’s) which carries loaves of Leidenheimer’s French bread – the official bread of the po’boy. The bread is tender on the inside with a crunchy crust. As that specific bread is hard to get elsewhere in the country, go ahead and use French bread loaves or rolls instead.

The finished sandwich is awesome. Lots of beefy flavor and the sauce soaks into the bread, making it melt in your mouth good. I was out of tomatoes but the lettuce added a nice crunch. Dad took too long slicing the pickles and I was hungry, so I took the picture without them in it.

Debris Po-boy

3.5 lb beef chuck roast
coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups beef stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce

Generously rub salt and pepper over the chuck roast and set aside while you prepare the grill. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a pourable container and set aside.

Set the grill up for indirect cooking with a semi-circle of 14 to 20 unlit charcoal briquets as a base layer. Use a chimney starter to bring the rest of the charcoal to heat and pour over the unlit coals. Place several hickory chips on the coals to add smoke.

Sear the chuck roast on both sides for about 5 minutes per side over direct heat. Place the meat in an aluminum pan on the cool or indirect zone of the grill. Carefully pour over the beef stock mixture. It should fill the pan and mostly cover the meat.

Braise, uncovered for 1 hour. Rotate the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Continue to braise for 2 hours more. Internal temperature of the meat should be 200 degrees F.

Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes on a cutting board before shredding with your hands or two forks. Bring the sauce to a boil to reduce slightly. Remove from heat and defat the remaining sauce before returning the meat to the sauce to stay warm.

Slice French bread or rolls lengthwise, leaving a hinge on the opposite side. Spread the cut sides with mayonnaise. Place a generous amount of meat and a ladle of the sauce on one side of the loaf. To dress your po’boy, top with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and a couple of pickle slices.

Serve with plenty of napkins.

Chili Con Carne

One of the most comforting scents of winter is the smell of chili cooking on the stove – you just know your very soul is about to get warmed up.

I usually use a food processor to speed up the prep work – chop the onions and garlic, chop the meat, chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Unfortunately, the food processor was one of things destroyed when my parent’s house flooded in Hurricane Sally, so I went the old fashioned way with a large knife and murder in my heart.

This is a good, hearty meal without much heat. The sun dried tomatoes add a lovely brightness and using the oil they were packed in to sauté the onions and meat adds another flavorful layer.

I eat mine with saltine crackers and my folks like eating theirs with flour tortillas and grated cheddar cheese. Other options include Fritos corn chips, sliced jalapeño, sliced green onions, sour cream, guacamole, diced white onion, French fried onions, etc, etc. The sky’s the limit!

Chili Con Carne

1 large white onion
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.5 lbs chuck roast, cut into hunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 cup water or beer
2 (14 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained

Drain the olive oil from the tomatoes.

Chop up the onions and garlic into a small dice and sauté in the tomato olive oil until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and a little pepper.

Roughly chop the meat into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with salt. Add to the pan, cooking until slightly browned on all sides.

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Add to the beef with the tomatoes, Ro-tel, cinnamon stick and the water or beer.

Bring to the boil, cover, then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the cinnamon stick and add the kidney beans and cook for 30 minutes more with the lid off.

Serve with your favorite sides/toppings.

Fudgy Nutella Sourdough Brownies

I was looking for alternatives to bread making to use some of my sourdough starter discard when I rediscovered a sourdough brownie recipe in my files. As I wanted to take it a step further, I decided to add some Nutella hazelnut spread to the batter.

It was a delicious idea. The hazelnut spread adds fudgy, nutty richness. The sourdough starter makes sure it isn’t too sweet.

Be sure and let the pan cool completely before cutting or you’ll be spooning out brownies (which isn’t a bad idea either).

Fudgy Nutella Sourdough Brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate baking bars (I use Ghirardelli), broken into pieces
½ cup Nutella hazelnut spread

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup sourdough starter discard
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and butter a square (8×8 or 9×9) baking pan.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the chocolate pieces and hazelnut spread. Stir the ingredients until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool down.

Stir the vanilla extract with the sourdough starter.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until well blended, at least 5 minutes. Add the sourdough starter and beat on low. Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl and beat on low until mixed. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan after they come out of the oven.  Cut into squares.
Store in an airtight container or bag.

Smashing Good Potatoes

I served smashed potatoes with lunch the other day and they were sooo good I just had to share. I used the pretty, multi-color ones but small Yukon gold potatoes, little new potatoes or fingerlings work just as well.

I make rosemary salt by chopping fresh rosemary and mixing it with coarse kosher salt in a two parts fresh rosemary to one part kosher salt ratio. Stored in an airtight jar, it lasts for months and you can refresh it by adding more fresh rosemary.

This is one of my go-to side dish recipes. The smashed potatoes are crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

Smashed Potatoes

2 lbs small potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rosemary salt

Place washed potatoes in a saucepan of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Larger potatoes will take longer.

While potatoes boil, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Drain potatoes and return to the saucepan to dry in the residual heat. Pour on the olive oil and sprinkle the rosemary salt over the potatoes. Stir to combine and then place on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Use the bottom of a glass to crush the potatoes onto the baking sheet – they don’t need to be squashed flat, just pressed until they pop. Roast for 30-40 minutes (the longer the cook, the crisper the outside will get), flipping them halfway through to brown both sides.

Mushroom Pistachio Sourdough Focaccia

I oven roasted more than enough mushrooms for pizza and had almost a cup left over. Michelle had given me a bag of pistachios and I had a hankering for focaccia, so this recipe was born.

To roast the mushrooms, slice and place in a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. Stir well to coat before placing mushrooms on a parchment covered baking sheet and spreading out in a single layer. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until done, stirring once during the baking.

This is a bread that eats like a meal. While it takes a several long rises totaling about 6 hours as it only uses the wild yeast in the sourdough starter, the final result is almost meaty and nutty and deliciously crunchy.

Mushroom Pistachio Sourdough Focaccia

2-3 cups bread flour
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons plus extra for drizzle olive oil
½ cup sliced and roasted mushrooms, chopped
¼ cup dry roasted pistachios, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
flake salt

Mix 2 cups flour, water and sourdough starter together in a large bowl until it comes together in a sticky dough. Let this dough rest for 30 minutes to hydrate the flour.

Add another 1/2 cup of flour, salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the dough and move to a bread machine or a stand mixer. Set the bread machine on dough cycle and let the cycle run. With a stand mixer, use a dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl – if it is too sticky to do so, add another ½ cup of bread flour.

Cover and let rise for two hours or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and mix in the pistachios and mushrooms. Place in an oiled bowl to rise for two hours or until doubled in size.

Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 9×13 pan and use your fingers to coat the bottom. With oiled fingers, turn the dough onto the pan and press gently to spread the dough out evenly to a one inch thickness. Cover and let rise for another hour.

Sink your finger tips into the dough to make deep dents. Drizzle a good coating of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle top with sea salt and Italian seasoning (I have a recipe for an Italian seasoning mix here).

After the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes, preheat oven to 450º F.

Place the focaccia into the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.

Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

Crusty, Chewy Sourdough Rolls

We planned to have some leftover Crab Imperial for dinner and I decided to make dinner rolls. I used my sourdough starter to give the rolls a flavorful start and poured a pan of water in the oven to give them a perfectly crusty exterior.

This isn’t a fussy recipe although it does take some time. As my starter has the consistency of pancake batter, the first step only took about 30 minutes but waiting longer doesn’t hurt, just adds a depth of flavor.

If you don’t gobble them all down in a single sitting, the rolls can be frozen once they have cooled completely. Defrost in the microwave on the DEFROST setting for about a minute.

Final result is a nice chew and light tang to the rolls. Delicious accompaniment to dinner or lovely on their own with butter or a little olive oil.

Sourdough French Rolls

1 cup unfed sourdough starter
2 ½ cups to 3 cups bread flour
1 cup water
½ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon yeast

Combine the sourdough starter, flour, water and sugar in a large bowl. Stir to combine. The mixture should be a shaggy, sticky dough. Cover and allow to rest for about 45 minutes to an hour to hydrate the flour.

Transfer dough to a bread machine and add the salt and yeast. Set it on dough cycle and hit start. After the bread machine has been running for about ten minutes, check the consistency of the dough. It will be a little sticky, but should clear the sides of the bowl. If it seems too wet, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. Let the machine complete the cycle and leave it in the machine for 30 additional minutes.

Dust a baking sheet lightly with cornmeal. Set aside.

After the dough has doubled in size, place it onto the counter or a cutting board.  Divide the dough into 9 equal sized pieces.

Shape the pieces into rolls by pinching the bottoms and rolling on the counter to smooth out. Place on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet. Rub the tops with flour and then make a slash into the tops with sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Bring the oven to 450 degrees F. Place an empty, rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack to get hot while the oven preheats.

When the oven has come to temperature, pour 1 cup of water on the hot baking sheet to create steam (the pan may buckle – this is okay). Place the baking sheet with the rolls on center rack and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown and they sound hollow when thumped.

Cool rolls on wire rack.

 

Grilled Charbroiled Shrimp

Mmmm, grilled shrimp.

I was able to grab a bottle of Drago’s Butter Garlic Charbroiling Sauce at my local grocery store but, if you can’t get it at yours, you can find copy-cat recipes for the sauce on the internet (NOLA Cuisine has a good one). If you’ve never been to the New Orleans area restaurant, their charbroiled oysters are legendary.

Frankly, this recipe was born from my laziness – I didn’t want to have to skewer 2 lbs of shrimp but I still wanted the smokey flavor of the grill. Cast iron to the rescue! Use a large skillet as you want the shrimp in as close to a single layer as possible so you don’t overcook them.

The end result is basically a grilled version of scampi. If you have a lemon, cut it in half and place it on the grates while the shrimp is cooking. Squeeze it over the final dish for a hit of citrus.

Quick and delicious! The use of fire adds a complex flavor and the bottled sauce is a nice shortcut to a delightful dish.

Grilled Charbroiled Shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ bottle of Drago’s Butter Garlic Charbroiling Sauce or make one recipe of the sauce

Set up your charcoal fire for direct heat. When the coals are nice and ashy, place a large cast iron grill on the grate. Add oil to skillet and sear the shrimp on one side until golden brown, 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Close the lid during the cooking so the shrimp picks up a lovely smokey flavor.

Mix in the butter garlic sauce and cook until aromatic, stirring constantly. This will take about 2 minutes.

Bring the skillet inside and transfer shrimp and sauce to a serving plate. Serve with plenty of crusty bread for dunking.